Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Peter Stenshoel reviews The Best of the Lovin' Spoonful

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46351 full

For all the stories of the cut-throat pop music business keeping artists in line in the mid-60's, The Lovin' Spoonful created, seemingly effortlessly, songs that seemed to be windows into their souls. Gentle satisfaction--happiness, not complacency--wafted from their early recordings like incense.

Their "aw shucks" appeal only serves to obscure what a songwriting genius John Sebastian was. The featured song, "Do You Believe in Magic," was a great blessing on Top 40 radio. I love how the images mix so freely: Jug bands, old-time movies, tapping feet, and a "young girl's heart." Music can free you, the message goes, and that's a sweet kind of magic.

When I was eleven, I remember traipsing around my tree-lined back yard, consumed with the song as Spring finally started busting open Minnesota Winter wide open with warm gusts of fragrant air. It was a perfect moment: the lyrics capture the innocence of youth and hint ever-so-gently at the wonder of what follows youth.

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